The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is still pushing for a review of the existing labour regulations to make it more binding on employers to adhere to their labour obligations, General Secretary Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, has indicated.
Speaking to the B&FT at an Organised Labour Forum by the Friedrich Egbert Stiftung in Accra, Dr Yaw Baah said recent happenings in the business front, especially the increasing casualisation of workers in key sectors of the economy such as the maritime, mining and informal sectors, warranted such a review.
He said: “The existing labour law is protecting the interest of employers, both local and foreign. If you look at domestic workers, many of them are being paid below the minimum wage, and this is not right.
As a union, we will try to engage government and employers for them to see the reason why they have to protect the interest of their workers.”
Dr. Baah added: “Labour laws are to protect workers; if a labour law is protecting the interest of employers at the detriment of workers, then that law must change. It is not a court matter; it is about changing the law.”
According to the TUC boss, the current labour law does little to protect the interest of workers in case of any unforeseen occurrences, citing the plight of displaced workers of the seven collapsed banks as an example.
The banking sector is regulated by the Banking Act of 2016 which has listed the interest of the various stakeholders. Under this Act, if you are a worker, your interest is ranked number five behind depositors, shareholders and so on.
At a meeting between the BoG, Consolidated Bank of Ghana and various workers’ unions, it came out that exit packages for the affected workers will be considered after the first four interests have been sorted.
“We think this is wrong because stakeholders, for instance, shareholders and so on, can pull off their resources immediately if they don’t like it, but the worker cannot just pull off just like that.”
He added: “These are workers who have worked for some of these banks for years, and are an equally important stakeholder for the industry. So, what we have to do is to change the law to reflect the importance of workers in enterprises.”
According to Dr. Baah, even though frailties in the law have been detected, it is only when the law is reviewed and tightened that the union could take any action against employers who fail to honour their obligations to their employees.
- “If we should take any case to court on the basis of the current law, which is flawed, it will serve as the basis for judgment and that means the case is lost already. What we have to do is make sure that the law protects workers.”